About 140km north of Christchurch, a side road heads 9km north off SH7 to HANMER SPRINGS at the edge of a broad, fertile plain snuggled against the Southern Alps foothills. Rainwater seeping through fractures in the rocks of the Hanmer Mountains absorbs various minerals and is warmed by the earth’s natural heat, before rising to the surface as the springs that made the town famous. Everything centres on oak-lined Amuri Avenue, which runs past the springs, the i-SITE, shops and the shady park that gives the town its quiet, sheltered feel.